Alimony: Different States, Different Rules Part2


Alimony is a part of many divorces.  As New Jersey recently passed legislation limiting the duration of alimony payments, I got curious as to what was done in other states.  And so began my research….  This is the second part of this series.

What states have limits on the duration or amount of alimony?

Alabama – spousal support may not be available if the marriage lasted less than 10 years.

California – support generally terminates at retirement.  In marriages of less than ten years, the term is limited to half the length of the marriage.

Colorado – spousal support terminates upon good faith retirement at full retirement age.

Delaware – for couples married for 20 years or longer, there is no limit to how long alimony can be paid/received.  If the marriage is less than 20 years, alimony cannot be paid/received for more than 50% of the length of the marriage.

Florida – Rebuttable presumptions:
Short-term marriage – less than 7 years
Moderate-term marriage – greater than 7 years but less than 17 years
Long-term marriage – 17 years or greater.

“Bridge the gap” alimony may be awarded to assist a party by providing support to allow the party to make a transition from being married to being single.  It cannot exceed 2 years.  Durational alimony cannot exceed the length of the marriage.  In long-term marriages, permanent alimony may be awarded.

Indiana – alimony is limited to three years, unless the recipient is ill or disabled.

Kansas – the Court cannot award maintenance for more than 121 months with some exceptions.  Many counties have guideline formulas for amount and duration

Louisiana – support cannot exceed 1/3 of payor’s net income.

Maine – rebuttable presumptions are that in marriages or civil union of between 10 and 20 years, alimony is limited to a period equal to half the length of the marriage.  Normally, alimony is not awarded in marriages of less than 10 years.


• Marriage more than 20 years
◦ alimony ends at retirement age defined by Social Security Act
• Marriage 5 years or more
◦ maximum alimony of 50% number of months married
• Marriage more than 5 years and less than 10 years
◦ maximum = 70% number of months married
• Marriage more than 15 years and less than 20 years
◦ maximium = 80% number of months married
• Maximum amount of alimony must not exceed (1) the recipient’s need or (2) 30% to 40% of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes when the order is issued

New Jersey – In a marriage or civil union of less than 20 years, the alimony term cannot exceed the length of marriage/civil union unless there are exceptional circumstances.

New Mexico – There are alimony guidelines for both couples with children and without.    Alimony is usually not granted in marriages under 5 years.  In marriages between 5 and 10 years, alimony may be granted using a reimbursement theory or rehabilitative support plan.  Additional factors in play for marriages between 10 and 20 years, and those over 20 years.  The formulas are as follows:

With no children
1.  Payors monthly gross income x 0.3
2.  Recipients monthly gross income x 0.5
3.  Difference = amount payor pays

With children
1.  Payors monthly gross income x 0.28
2.  Recipients monthly gross income x 0.58
3.  Difference = amount payor pays

New York – 20 factors are considered in the determination of maintenance (not called alimony).  While maintenance during the divorce is discretionary, temporary maintenance is determined based on state guidelines on the first $500,000.00 of income.  This formula is used unless the court determines the award to be unjust or inappropriate.

Maintenance = Lesser of
30% higher earning spouse income  – 20% lower earning spouse income
40% of combined income – lower earning spouse income

Ohio –  the state is considering the following formula to limit the amount and duration of alimony:


Texas – other than in the case of physical or mental illness, alimony is limited in duration as shown in the following table. The amount of alimony is limited to the lessor of $5,000 or 20% of the spouse’s average monthly gross income (which is defined in the state’s statutes).


Utah – alimony may not be ordered for a duration longer than the number of years that the marriage existed unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Washington State – There are no set formulas or guidelines. Research indicates that an informal guideline for marriages under 25 years is for every three years of marriage, a spouse will receive one year of maintenance. For example, if a marriage lasted 15 years, alimony payments would last for five years and a 10 year marriage would result in alimony for three years. Permanent alimony may be granted in marriages over 25 years.

View Part 1 of this series

Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information is intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. The information offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely on any information contained herein without first seeking the advice of an attorney.

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About Stacey Udell

Stacey Udell, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA is a partner in the public accounting firm of Gold Gerstein Group LLC. Ms. Udell specializes in business valuation, forensic accounting, economic damages, and litigation support for a wide range of businesses and professional practices for purposes such as estate and gift tax planning and compliance, divorce, business succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, shareholder litigation, and bankruptcy proceedings.

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